Anne Novis MBE: A Push too far

January 15, 2011

Anne Novis was awarded an MBE in the Queens New Years Honours in recognition of her dedicated work and ‘Services to disabled people’.

She writes:

I am a disability activist, you know one of those people who will complain, (how dare I?), when facing discrimination, challenge inequality wherever I find it and advocate for other disabled people.

Oh one of those you might say, YES! one of those who believes in the human rights of every single person, those ‘rights’ so many take for granted as they have not had them taken away yet.

I have fought, yes fought, for nearly twenty years for disabled people to be believed about their experiences of targeted hostility, harassment and abuse, hate crime and for an appropriate response from society.

Within all this I also fight for myself as a wheelchair user who needs care to live independently.
One of those who relies on benefits to live, to carry on having a family life, to practise my faith and be safe.

Oh I hear it already I am ‘burden on society’, ‘work shy’, a ‘fraudster’ and should have been ‘killed at birth’, I have actually been told this when attacked on a local high street and read it every day in the media .

I would love to get paid for the volunteering I do, for the contribution I have made to this society, for caring for my children and 23 foster kids, for advocating and counselling, advising and supporting other disabled people.

But hey I am part of the Big Society, one of those who does all this for free, you know like David Cameron wants you all to do now.

I am qualified up to my eyeballs, have attempted to get paid work many times often just a couple of hours here and there as that’s all I can commit to due to my body not being as active as my mind.

Most employers don’t want those who are sick, disabled a burden, work shy and fraudsters to work for them you know?

Now I face cuts in my personal care, the ILF which funds half my care package is scrapped and I will only get 5 more years of such support, that’s if I still qualify of course.

To qualify for ILF you must be on the high rate care component of DLA and need more then £340 plus pounds worth of care from your local authority.

But DLA is to be scrapped too , the local authority has no money and will be implementing increased charges for care and cuts in care as soon as possible.

I will be reassessed for the Severe Disability Allowance I get and probably have this taken away and be put on Job Seekers Allowance, after all I should be in paid work you know.
It does not matter about my health issues, regardless I must be in paid WORK!

Yet if I lose my care I cannot function, get up, get dressed, shop, socialise, practice my faith, in fact do nothing let alone be in paid work in some sort of ideal world where priority is given to sick and disabled people to get into work first before all those others sacked, made redundant, not sick, more experienced employees out there seeking work too.

I may get a basic income but I will have to jump through hoops, attend interviews, training and more and if I don’t ? Well I will be punished of course, the finance will be lessoned and eventually stopped.

Yet if I have no care support I cannot get up, dressed, eat, go out, and attend interviews or training.

But that does not matter I should make more effort as I am work shy, a fraudster and a burden on the state and ‘unsustainable’ as government ministers keep telling me.

So how will I survive? I will not.

But that’s ok too as then there will be less disabled people and we will save the government some money and all these incentives will have been shown to work as I, and so many others, will not exist.

And if we do mange to ‘exist’ it will be in residential care, or in bedsits, living on the scraps of funding society can ‘afford’ or deem reasonable for us to live on, we will return to begging on the streets then everyone will be happier as I will not be a ‘burden’ or a ‘fraudster’.

Yet once upon a time I had a dream, to own a home, have a career, travel and enjoy my retirement.
I was in paid work, as was my partner, we contributed to society by it’s current definition.

But oops! One day my body gave out, my back ripped apart and I entered the world of spinal injury, discrimination, inequality and prejudice.
Overnight I was unable to move from a bed, lost my work, my foster children, my partner and myself.

I did not choose this,it happened to me, as so many illnesses and accidents do.

One day you may find you or a member of your family becomes sick or injured, be born too early or face being different.

Now I face increased poverty, for no matter what you think disabled people on benefits are not rich, I face medical tests (many of them) by unqualified people who will decide whether I am too ill/disabled or not to be in paid work.

I face serious cuts in my care package, lose the five personal assistants I employ to help me, lose my wheelchair adapted car, lose DLA which was meant to help with some of the extra costs of being a disabled person.

Once I fail the ESA medical, which most do, I will become one of the invisible disabled, those not on anyone’s radar. I will face sanctions for not complying with job seeking requirement’s and lose even more of the pittance I am meant to survive on.

I will lose myself again.

Not due to an injury that was no ones fault but due to a society that is allowing a government to implement the most discriminatory harshest attacks on disabled people this generation has faced.

A society that is allowing those who can fight least to be targeted as the scapegoats for the financial mess they and the succeeding governments got us into.

Yes you, and you and you, all of you who stand by and say nothing or encourage such vicious and undeserving attacks are just as responsible for what is happening.

Those who stand by and allow this are equivalent to those who stood by when disabled people and Jews were targeted by the Nazi’s for annihilation.

Too harsh for you?

Its our lives we are fighting for, our very lives, some have already killed themselves due to what is happening, many more are considering it.

Will you stand by?

Anne Novis


26 Responses to “Anne Novis MBE: A Push too far”

  1. Dear Ann Novis. Thank you for speaking out You have so much to be so very proud off.

    I’m sitting here in greatfear of taking my own life I think of it constantly every single day I have attempted to many times it’s a small miracle I’m still here. all this is the end product of many years of unresolved trauma. Death none exhistence gone my shocking thought process would be such a relief. peace finally. no one would miss me. I do have a child though I a’m missing so badly she if I’m still alive will come to see me in just 2 to 3 years time. I’m clinging on to life just to tell her how much dad loves her and to be there for her as I should have been all along. my immence grief due to numerous trauma is so shocking Idon’t know how long I can live with it.

    I have faced so much stigma and ridicule over the years not to mention discrimination from all walk’s of life. even my a miracle I was able to do any work no Employer would give me a chance I have tried so hard in the past but always ended up being used and abused. I con’t cope with it anymore I now hide away due to extreme depression and physical health issues. I cant ever work clear and simple I also can’t defend myself against state induced wholesale abuse of the masses of defenceless individuals me included who are about to have the very few rights we have stripped away. many will be homeless ore put in small cramped homes not fit for purpous bed sit’s etc with no money to pay for basic heating and food no travel expenses no phone ore internt just blank cold dark walls for company this will be me for sure in just a few years time not a nice site for my child to witness whoe’s adult life is only just beginning as Me her dad will say good bye to the world curtacy of Big fat greedy Brother who by then will boast to his children how he murdered the work shy on mass. I have only exhistence to lose now and only peace to gain. one ore the other at the toss of rich mans world coin.

    Paul Davidson.

  2. John McArdle Says:


    Thank you Anne, for everything. For being YOU! XXX


  3. Marisha Bonar Says:

    Sorry for asking, but did Anne accept to be an MBE and promote another excuse to continue advertising a brutal empire built on slavery, responsible for so many many deaths and a complete wipe out of any Human Rights??I believe that it is an insult to All those who lost their lives/ancestors during that times…..only my own opinion .


  4. Batsgirl Says:

    Marisha, to refuse or accept an MBE makes no difference to “the empire”. However a refusal *would* be an insult to all the living people and organisations who nominated that person and who argued the case with the Home Office to get them awarded one of the few forms of national recognition that we have.

    I am concerned that in this entire post about the proposed cuts, the attacks on disabled people, the lives being diminished or not, and the appalling behaviour of the government, the media, and society as a whole… the only bit that bothers you enough to comment is that someone didn’t kick their friends in the teeth and say “no” when offered a formal honour.

    You are of course entitled to your opinions about the honours system but I feel you have missed the point.

  5. Harvey Duke Says:

    Hi Anne.

    The one good thing that’s happening right now is that more and more people are taking an interest in the cuts, and in all those whose lives are under threat. The housing benefit cap, for example, will cause hundreds of thousands of evictions if it goes ahead next year. Yet, the government were terrified of having a poll-tax rebellion on their hands, and decided against implementing it in April of this year. In fact, it will be in place for new claimants, making it harder to get a house for some families on benefits. But mass evictions are temporarily postponed.

    It’s not nearly good enough – but it reveals an important lesson for all of us in the anti-cuts movement. This is a weak government, and when they are afraid, they retreat. Our task then becomes building a mass movement of workers, students, sick, disabled and unemployed claimants, and others which can protest in our millions. All who can march, should do so. All who can raise their voices, must do so – in newspapers, blogs, radio, TV, films, songs, plays. No individual or family should feel that they face these cuts alone.

    Last Monday, I travelled from Dundee to London, to hold a meeting in the House of Commons about £16 billion of benefit cuts. I was joined by my MP, national trade union leaders, and one of the organisers of the recent London student demos. For the second time, I went on the 6 o’clock Scottish news to challenge Iain Duncan Smith to debate benefit cuts designed to drive millions of families further into poverty.

    We can all feel entirely alone in this battle, but we are not. A growing movement against all the cuts needs our support, and we need to reach out to others who have yet to join. I do not think your analogy with the Nazis is wrong, even though we still posess rights to organise and protest, which were crushed under Hitler. Yet, you are correct: this is a life and death struggle, and innocent people are dying. Just as in all previous historical resistance to tyranny and injustice, we need to organise. Public meetings should be organised in every city and rural area to oppose all the cuts – this has begun. The TUC demo in March must be bring 2 or 3 million to the streets of London. And politicians must be made aware that neither deep cuts today nor slightly less deep cuts tomorrow will be accepted. Both are unacceptable, in a world where billionaire tax avoiders run free, and the rich bankers who created the economic crisis are paid billions in bonuses, sometimes from public money!

    We do what we can. In Dundee, I’m planning an event which will invole hundreds of people, including many disabled people. Then, there’s a meeting in Glasgow to form a Scottish anti-cuts organisation. Then, it will be time to fill the trains and coaches now booked to come to London. In all of that, I and many others, will not forget, not for a heartbeat, the concerns of sick, disabled, and unemployed claimants. We’ll raise clear demands: no to all benefit cuts; cancel the contracts of Atos and other profiteers in the welfare system; and for a benefits system bases on medical and social need, not profit and life-threatening cuts.

    Let us fight these battles together.
    All the best

    Harvey Duke
    Dundee Unemployed Support Centre

  6. Julia C Says:

    Thank you Anne for this blazing post. It says it all.

  7. Peter Lockhart Says:

    And Labour cheerleading. Douglas Alexander has said he will work with the coalition on DLA reform. Problem is, they aren’t reforming DLA, they are abolishing it. Ed Milliband says DLA is not fit for purpose. We Ed, tell that to people like me who without DLA will become housebound. I’m just so angry with Labour right now i’m shaking and will have to stop typing before I say something i regret. I’m a Labour Party member, i’m even disability officer for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Constituency Labour Party but right now i’m ashamed.

  8. Diana Harrison Says:

    Such a moving account and so horribly true! We disabled folks are, I’m afraid the victims of a very cruel and nasty regime. It breaks my heart as it does every now frightened disabled person.

  9. Anne Says:

    Thank you all for your thoughts, I know I am far from alone and its the support of other disabled people that keeps me going.

    I support many too.

    I will fight as much as I can, have been on telly articulating these things, quoted in articles too.

    I have been on demonstrations in the past and will get involved where I can locally too.

    Re the MBE, its new I was nominated by several organisations and individual disabled people for my campaigning activities, one of very few disability activist’s to get this award.

    I will not be giving it back as I do feel that would insult those who thought so much of what I did to thank me for my voluntary activities.

    I will continue fighting, as I always do, for equality, human rights for others and for me.

    I say it how I see it, not as articulately as some others, but from my heart and my lived reality.

    Thank you for commenting everyone and sharing your thoughts its appreciated.

  10. Doreen Healey Says:

    Dear Ann As a disabled person I was very moved by your letter on on FB page. You are a very courageous person and had every right to accept your MBE, by doing so you highlight the lives of all disabled people. Like you I wasn’t born disabled and led a very active productive working life. Rheumatoid Arthritis put an end to this life but I have made a new life for myself and there are numerous people out there willing to support you!
    I cannot deny that there are some people who abuse the system, these are the ones that need to be ferreted out, I fear that many genuine people will fall by the wayside and I know that many now are very worried about what will become of them. Without my car and my scooter I would be completely housebound and it frightens me. Good luck with your campaign.

  11. myrtlemaid Says:

    I find myself constantly fearful that my benefits will be cut or removed and that I will struggle to be able to do even the small amounts of things I do now.

    I dont think that people who are not disabled actually really understand what its like not to be able to just pop to the shops, go to the pub. cinema, theatre , ( fill in your own favourite activities and daily neccessary tasks ), because you cant do them unaided and cant get enough help from another person to do them.

    Not for me the simple thing of going to a nearby town to shop because my impairment means i cant drive, cant get a bus and wouldnt be able to find my way around if I could.

    Im sure if most non disabled people were told their world would mostly be a small radius round their home and little else theyd find it stifling, frustrating and lonely, well guess what so do disabled people too.. such a life can lead to almost total isolation and that can lead to depression which makes getting out, whether to seek work or to have a life of that approaching

    As for work well, even if I could go out to work, or even work from home,since only about 25% of employers say theyd employ a disabled person and far less than that that theyd employ someone who was long term disabled I dont like my chances.

    I applaud the efforts of people like Anne who fight for those of us who arent always well enough to fight for ourselves and I believe she fully deserves her honour and the recognition that goes with it

  12. ricky4 Says:

    Where is the joined-up thinking in all of this.

    Volunteer they say – but if you withdraw money from voluntary organisations, they will not be there when the volunteers knock at the door. Reduce benefits to less than basic, and who pays the bus fare to get disabled people to the voluntary organisations? Withdraw freedom passes and there will not be enough people to keep the buses going, so there will be no transport to get the volunteers to the offices. Withdraw DLA (the most fit-for purpose benefit there is) and the disabled will have to spend their time on the streets begging and will not have the time/energy left to volunteer.

    It has started already, as voluntary organisations are right now being told their grants for 2011 are to be cut and withdrawn.

    We need people who are willing to stick their necks out and say it like it is. MBE? Play them at their own game, from the inside.

  13. Jaime O'Connor Says:

    Congratulations on a well deserved award – and the commenter who said that this is one of the few ways we have as a public to honor those who we think matter is very right.

    It’s all well and good politicians and those in power praising each other – this is recognition that the people Anne Novis has been fighting alongside and for value and appreciate her.

    Very well done, I say, and don’t let anyone tell you differently, Anne.

  14. Frances Sayce Says:

    As a disabled person (OAP) with a son of 29 who is also disabled . I agree totally with you Ann.
    You are an inspiration to us all.
    May you continue to fight the good fight.
    An award well deserved

  15. pete Says:

    Why only a MBE for your work?

    FFS They give out OBE’s to jokers(literally)!

    What’s more important?

  16. Anne Says:

    I will use any amonition I have to fight for equality justice and against ‘cuts’ including MBE

    But already impact of increases to Taxicard scheme means I will not be able to attend key meetings in central London as just cannot afford it so have to try and get organisers to pay my travel costs.

    This also means getting to demonstrations or other campaigning activities is way out of the pocket of many disabled people.

    If any of my care package is reduced then life comes down to basics and voluntary activities cease.

    VAT increase has been used by many shops to add on further increases to cost of food etc, I already notice this and have formally complained.

    £10 now only pays for what was £7 or less.

    I know that the local authority is looking to increase charges for care, taking as much from disability benefits as possible and legal to do.

    Half my high rate care component of DLA is taken as charges for care already.

    I don’t know if I will be allowed or afford staying in my adapated council house which I have lived in for 18 years due to changes in rent and what is deemed allowable.

    My 5 PA’s are scared they will lose thier jobs and I cannot reassure them at all.

    ILF or Independent Living fund which pays my PA’s/carers is frozen and being scrapped so suddenly without consultation or consideration of what this means to so many it has taken the foundation of independent living away from so many of us.

    Supposedly the local authorities are meant to fid this extra money for those severely disabled in thier area now, well that ain’t going to happen folks!

    As it is most have stopped any night time care, withdrawn it and told people to wear nappies regardless of dignity and respect.

    I would ask people not to consider suicide please, let us help each other as much as possible.

    For those who cannot fight please know that I and so many others will do so for you as much as we can, we are not alone look at the responses here to know that.

    Thanks all for responding, encouraging and supporting it keeps me going when I get flak.

  17. Indie Nicholls Says:

    No, I won’t just stand by and let it happen to you and to me and so many more. BUT WHAT CAN I DO? Due to mental ill health I am unable to protest but unless we smash up the streets no-one will take any notice.
    Please…someone… something for us?

  18. Anne Says:

    Hi Indie, just responding here to my blog helps you know, a little support goes a very long way for disabled people.

    Emails to MPs, Ministers, local councillors where you live, these are possible and on the BOB websaite there are even draft letters which you and others can use, just tweak to fit what you want to say.

    Comment on Blogs, newspaper articles, say it how it is as and when you can, support those who are fighting for you, thats how you can help.

    just knowing you read this blog helps me to continue writing, fighting, sharing, it all helps.

    So you are not just standing by, my article is targeted at all those who are making nasty assumptions about us, making decisions that ruin our lives, those who say nothing when peoples lives are put at risk.

    Thank you for being here,every littel comment, email, response to consultations by disabled people helps.

  19. tiddk Says:

    But the disabled should work. The disabled must work. It doesn’t matter a jot if disability makes it impossible. Work enables people to have self respect, and fulfilled lives. It enables them above all, to be free.
    now where did I see that before? oh yes, it’s on the gates at Auschwitz. “Work makes you free”
    Truly, the disabled are the new Jews.

  20. Diana Harrison Says:

    And the worst thing is others out there cant see it they are so brainwashed and keep going on endlessly about scroungers. Im sick of what is happening to us. Fight on I say!!

  21. Robert Says:

    Phew we are lucky they Hitler did not kill the sick and disabled then. Read the history although the Jews went through hell so did the disabled and the sick.

    Now then I see labour are back on welfare, Miliband in Cardiff agree with the Tories battle on welfare, although he said he did not agree with rents being lowered, and of course JSA being stooped but he agreed with the rest..

    Yet Ms Currna MSP In Scotland says labour are on the side of the disabled and she goes onto say we have always been on the side of the disabled and sick, seems the rose tinted glasses are being worn again. My Mp refused to even speak about it rather to say if you can work you should.

    we are going through a battle with people like Caroline Flint being placed back into Politics in charge of housing, New labour is alive and well

  22. Heather Chaplin Says:

    To Ann

    Thank you so much for all that you are doing, and I thank the Lord for that strength and peace which He has given to uphold you. You may remember my son, Erik Mitchell at South Lee, needing a lot of support still, he is in a hostel near me in west coast Scotland. Since I saw you on tv recently, I remember you in prayer. I help in my own corner to improve and fight for support for those with disabilities, my particular experience is with mental health. I am also starting a small group locally to learn British Sign Language. Thank you South Lee.
    My very best wishes
    Heather Chaplin (ex Mitchell)

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